The UN expects the world population to reach 10 billion people by 2050. To provide humanity with essential nutrition, the existing food production must be doubled at the least. Ukraine plays a key role in achieving this global mission, as figures clearly show. So, let us look at several facts presented in the language of maths by First Deputy Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine Maksym Martynyuk.
In the recent years, our country exported more than 65% of its grain crops, being one of the guarantors of world food security. According to the US Department of Agriculture, in the 2016/2017 marketing year, Ukraine ranked third among the largest grain exporters in terms of barley exports, fourth by corn exports, and sixth by wheat exports. In terms of overall grain exports, we took silver, letting only the USA pass by.
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Every year, Ukrainian grain goes to over 90 countries of the world, 20 of which buy over 1 million tons annually. Our key partners on the grain market are in Asia, North Africa, the EU and the Middle East.
The grain sector remains a pillar of Ukraine's agribusiness. Grain crops account for a quarter of the total agricultural production. The grain sector generates 4.5% of GDP.
Around 32,000 farmers, or over 85% of their total number, are engaged in grain production. Every year, Ukrainian producers sow around 15 million hectares with grain crops, which is over half of the entire cultivated land in Ukraine.
In the past 15 years, Ukraine made a huge leap in the grain sector. Grain production grew 2.7 times. In the previous 2016/2017 marketing year, Ukraine set another record, having harvested over 66 million tons of grain crops.
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However, the existing potential in agrarian production in Ukraine has not been exhausted. Moreover, in addition to the development of the general agrarian culture, there are several systemic drivers at once, which can ensure a significant growth in production. In particular, agricultural production is returning to abandoned or idle agricultural land (roughly 3-4 million hectares), irrigation is being restored, access to financing, modern technologies and equipment is being improved, while legal regulations become "friendlier" to business.
At the same time, further systemic development of the grain sector in Ukraine and the Black Sea region in the short term requires urgent solutions to grain logistics development and diversification tasks. The quality of grain also becomes a key requirement.
Thus, having a huge potential and opportunities, we clearly see a shortlist of tasks for 2018. It is up to every player in the grain market to fulfill them and ensure a new quality of "advanced grain maths".
Author: Maksym Martynyuk, First Deputy Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine
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